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Can ambulance telephone triage using NHS Pathways accurately identify paediatric cardiac arrest?

Author: Deakin CD


Most out-of-hospital paediatric cardiac arrests (CA) are not identified until a call is made to the emergency medical services. Accurate identification increases overall survival by enabling immediate ambulance dispatch and delivery of bystander CPR. European ambulance services use a variety of didactic telephone scripts to interrogate the caller and rapidly identify paediatric CA. The performance of these scripts has not been reported. This study aims to evaluate the diagnostic accuracy of the NHS Pathways as a telephone triage tool to identify patients less than 16 years age in cardiacarrest. Methods : All emergency calls to South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) over a 12-month period screened by 'NHS Pathways' v9.04 were identified. All actual or presumed paediatric CAs (<16 years age) identified by the emergency call taker were cross-referenced with the ambulance crew's Patient Report Form to identify all confirmed CAs. Results : Over a 12-month period from March 2015, a total of 540,715 emergency calls were received by SCAS, of which 53,213 related to children, 2052 (3.86%) being categorised by 'NHS Pathways' as paediatric CA. On arrival of the ambulance crew, only 87/2052 (4.24%) patients were in CA. Sensitivity=71.3%; specificity=96.3%; positive predictive value=4.2%. NHS Conclusion : This is the first reported evaluation of any currently used European paediatric telephone triage system for identifying CA. Further work is required to refine telephone triage pathways for paediatric cardiacarrest.


PMID: 28315728

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